DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The government has reopened again but, according to experts, it may take some time for the Internal Revenue Service to recover after five million pieces of mail went unopened during the shutdown. That according to CBS News via the federal watchdog National Taxpayer Advocate. Officials said it could take the IRS at least a year to get back to normal.
Reaction in North Texas was mixed to say the least.
Some wonder if this is a sign of a bigger problem. “If a few weeks us going to take a year to recover from, [then] something is wrong with them,” Gwen Koskinen commented on the CBSDFW Facebook site. “A year to make up for a shutdown that only lasted about a month?” said Brett Monroe, “Sounds fishy to me.”
According to Nancy Cordes with CBS News, the IRS is having trouble getting Americans their refunds on time. “It’s going to be massive catch up at this point,” Michelle Harris of the IRS said. Harris is one of the many IRS employees that was furloughed for 35 days. She told CBS that some of her coworkers quit.
“I know that it was more than people could handle and they put in their notice,” Harris said. “I don’t blame ’em.”
Others online are having a hard time believing it will take that long for the IRS to catch up. “There are 80,000 employees at the IRS. There’s no way it would take a year to get caught up,” said James Parks in a Facebook post to CBSDFW. But Crystle Abbott commented that all of those employees “don’t work in the mail room.”
Others online said they did not have issues at all giving the IRS money. “They managed to deposit my quarterly payment in a hurry,” said Janet Baker.
A note on the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s national web site said that all offices were open but when CBS 11 called the Dallas office, a recording that played said the office was still closed. “Due to the lack of an approved federal budget, we deeply regret that our office was required to close and we are currently unable to assist you,” the message said. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”
It was unclear whether the office was still closed or if the voice-mail just had not been changed back after the government reopened.
According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service web site, they are “an independent organization within the IRS.” They say their job is to “ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly” and that they “know and understand” their rights.
President Trump said this past weekend that the chances of congressional negotiators reaching a deal within three weeks are “less than 50-50.”
While there was not a lot of sympathy online for the IRS itself, some reactions were in support of the federal workers. “The government is barely paying the workers they already have,” said Christina Dixon.
Lawmakers from both houses of Congress are working to beat the odds and strike a deal.
The White House said the President is willing to do whatever it takes to secure the border including declaring a national emergency and/or shutting down the government again.
Officials also said that workers should start to get their back pay and overdue checks this week.